Autonomous sensory meridian response: individual differences and consciousness correlates

Natalie Roberts, Alissa Beath, Simon Boag*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    4 Citations (Scopus)
    15 Downloads (Pure)

    Abstract

    Autonomous sensory meridian response (ASMR) is a multidimensional sensoryaffective experience typically described as a head-oriented tingling sensation that occurs upon exposure to specific audiovisual triggers. Previous work using a 15-item multidimensional measure of ASMR propensity (Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response Scale [ASMR-15]), with sensory, affective, relaxation, and altered consciousness subscales, established the relationships between openness, absorption, and ASMR. However, the altered consciousness dimension of ASMR experiences remains relatively unexplored. As a result, this article explores the relationships between ASMR and a number of constructs associated with alterations in consciousness. Additional aims of the study were to assess the replicability of the established four factor structure of the modified ASMR-15, when administered to online interest group samples, and to explore the relationships between common ASMR trigger preferences and dimensions of ASMR propensity. To achieve this, the ASMR-15 was administered to participants from Facebook (n = 201) and Reddit (n = 256) ASMR interest groups, alongside measures of transliminality (Revised Transliminality Scale), unusual experiences (Unusual Experiences subscale), mindfulness (Mindful Attention and Awareness Scale), and body consciousness (Private Body Consciousness subscale). Additional items assessed participants' stimulus preferences from a list of common ASMR triggers, with an opportunity for the nomination of additional triggers, via free response. Through quantitative analyses, and categorization of qualitative responses, significant variation in preferences was observed across the sample. Correlational analyses indicated convergence between ASMR, transliminality, body consciousness, and unusual experiences, and divergence between the ASMR-15 and mindfulness scores. These findings open new avenues of ASMR exploration in relation to consciousness, specifically whether ASMR may be an altered state experience facilitated by thinner psychological boundaries.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)27–51
    Number of pages25
    JournalPsychology of Consciousness: Theory Research, and Practice
    Volume8
    Issue number1
    Early online date2 Jul 2020
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - Mar 2021

    Keywords

    • ASMR
    • autonomous sensory meridian response
    • mindfulness
    • individual differences
    • mental boundaries

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